If you’ve noticed my digital silence lately, it’s because I’ve disproven the fact that you can effectively and successfully wear four plus working hats at once — solo — while properly taking care of yourself and having somewhat of a life. On the flip side, it comes with having made some major strides of which I’m excited to finally share with you after several years. As I’ve touted and hinted at on the ‘gram, I’ve been working very closely with my talented mother, Janet Zeitoun, on realizing a dream she’s had since she was 10 years old, namely a hair care product line called SOTAH (pronounced sō’ ta and an acronym she coined for STATE OF THE ART HAIR). In a nutshell, she’s an incredibly talented hairstylist, having been an OG of what we now call a “glam squad” since the 80’s, working closely with icons like Janet Jackson, the late Michael Jackson and the late Natalie Cole for most of their lives on looks that shaped beauty today. That Janet Jackson Rolling Stone Cover? Yep, my mom. The iconic Scream music video? Yes, that, too (double whammy on that one). Pleasure Principle? Mhmm. Black or White and The Way You Make Me Feel? You bet. You can take a look at her extensive resumé, but aside from her professional capabilities, she is my mom — my rock, my number one, my queen — and together, despite how difficult things get working with family, I think we make a great team.
SOTAH Hair Care was birthed from a history and immense knowledge of the hair care market both from the perspective of one of the most watched spotlights of our time, as well as from experience working with a long list of salon clients from a variety of backgrounds. She’s worked with hair that’s been cut, colored, bleached, blown out, flattened, curled, and straightened on updos, short cuts, afros, mohawks, weaves, floor-length locks, straight hair, curly hair, thinning hair, extensions, wigs, bobs, high ponies, hair types 1A through 4C… you name it, she’s done it. And since she didn’t have a product line throughout her experience traveling the globe, she had to use the hair care products that were available to her. Some were great (and still are), many are just marketing gimmicks and don’t work, and a lot provide only temporary solutions. I can’t say I knew much about hair 2 years ago, and it’s still something I’m learning about every single day, so it is without question a necessity to introduce SOTAH Hair Care to you knowing the kind of foundation it was built upon.
It all came down to one key issue: dry hair. My mom’s struggled with it, her clients struggled with it, I’ve struggled with it. And it makes sense why, too: we love to style our hair. And no, not just a cut and throwing some styling product on it — I’m talking about coloring, blow drying, straightening, bleaching; all of these chemical and heat-based ways of styling compromise and dry out your hair. The more you do to it (especially the more often you do it), damage ensues; so the result you feel at your fingertips is why you say, “my hair feels so dry!” Bingo: because it is.
Despite the numerous (and I mean numerous — there’s no doubt we’re entering a saturated market) claims by major hair care lines worldwide that their products “hydrate,” people still struggle daily with dry hair. Riddle me that! And if people do find that their hair feels hydrated, it’d be temporary, like throwing a blanket over a mess you can’t figure out. That just doesn’t work. And like blankets, many so-called “hydrating” hair care out there provides what resembles a coat of hydration and wrongfully weighs the hair down. Those products offer a temporary fix to cater to an instant gratification world and have altered our perception of what it means and feels to have truly hydrated hair.
The first thing you’ll notice about properly hydrated hair is that it just feels great. Run your hands through your hair and it has a much smoother touch. I always refer to my curly hair after using SOTAH feeling like clouds; and on that note, hydrated hair (without any styling product in it post-wash) should feel weightless. It should also be shiny and enhance your natural — even color-treated! — hair. Not like a sheen you put on your hair to make it shiny, but a natural shine — like putting your best hair forward, so-to-speak. Next, it should be manageable. People with hair like me — curly and beyond — will understand this one. Our Conditioning Shampoo alone gently opens the curls and infuses the strands with moisture, but I also benefit from our Moisture Boost Conditioner which further helps detangle and add additional moisture (much-needed for my graying, unruly hair growing in). That means you can easily comb your hair and blow dry it with much more ease.
Think of truly hydrated hair as your foundation. You need a proper, sturdy one to architect your hair into whatever style — chemically-treated or not — you desire. In fact, truly hydrated hair will give you the confidence for a wash-and-go style — great for those of you wearing the beautiful, virgin hair you were given. And the beauty about it all is that it’s simple. Really. My mother spent over 5 years in research & development cycling through 100 plus formulations to finally put her seal of approval on an easy-to-use hair care line. You know when you go to your local store and you see upwards of twenty or forty different types of hair product to choose from? Where do you start? That’s not what my mother wanted for SOTAH Hair Care. You have enough on your plate as it is with the limited time you have than to stand in front of a shelf trying to figure out which one of the fifteen shampoos and conditioners available will work for your hair — if they’ll even work at all.
As I’ve mentioned before, there are some fantastic hair care products on the market already that we know you swear by. We understand that people use multiple hair products to achieve a desired look, so we won’t come up with our own version of anything on the market that we feel is truly great. Right now, we cater to strengthening the foundation of your hair through hydration. Whatever you do afterwards to your hair is up to you; but whether you enjoy a freeing wash-and-go look (you guys will love it) or you like to dye your hair completely to a new hue (keep that hair color from fading!), rest easier knowing that your hair is as healthy and as strong as it can be via hydration.
I’ve been using SOTAH Hair Care for over three years, and I’m not just saying that because it’s my family business. Remember: I had no interest in hair at all. It wasn’t until my mom gave me some of what she’s been working on and trying it out alongside the other shampoos and conditioners I’ve been using. I’d try SOTAH for a week and wean off of it for another to use whatever was lying around (hotel shampoos, grooming gifts, product referrals from friends). That’s when I knew the difference between the brilliant product my mother spent years crafting versus others on the market. My hair felt softer to the touch, helped me tame my unruly grays, and I was able to easily manage my hair by combing it through and blow drying it with ease. More on how I actually style my hair later, but know that my hair can’t do anything you see in my photos without the SOTAH Conditioning Shampoo and Moisture Boost Conditioner as my base washing products. I used to add pomades and hair styling sprays before going out, but I’ve grown accustomed to not liking anything that makes my hair feel like something’s in it. To help tame some of the wildlings of flyaways and boost shine, I add a touch of our Oil/Crème Therapy before I loosely blow dry; and when all’s done, I add some of our Shea Styling Crème as a light styling product to further define my curls. It’s basically all I need.
Whether you have naturally hydrated hair or not, hydration is the foundation by which the health of the hair strives. No hair type can be devoid of hydration to survive. We all need it, which is why SOTAH cannot discriminate, ignore or prioritize one hair type over another.
I’m based in New York and my mom’s based in Los Angeles, where we manufacture our products. It’s just my mom as President and me as CEO (putting that Ross BBA to work) right now, which basically means that we’re doing virtually everything on our own with the help of some fantastic freelancers. I hope you get a chance to visit our website, explore the site, follow SOTAH on Instagram, Like our Page, and learn all about SOTAH’s benefits. One of my dear and hella-talented friends Marshall Bower has been working with us for over a year to create the brand’s identity and design all of our packaging (we love it). My long-time photographer and friend Carly Tumen shot the campaign and product imagery in LA. If you check out our IGTV, our buddy Nick Pakradooni (aka @cholpak) who should probably start a video editing business soon put together a dope behind-the-scenes montage of our campaign shoot back in July. And last, but certainly not least, one of my besties Frank Spadafora of D’Marie helped us cast our models for the campaign. It takes a village — small, but mighty — and I’m thankful for each and everyone one in our lives who helped us get to this point.
So to my lovely brunettes, sexy redheads, curl queens, coily beauties, beach blondes, silver foxes and beyond: SOTAH is for you. It’s sulfate free, paraben free, color safe and, of course, safe for all hair types. As always, I’m here if you have any questions about our new venture or about my grooming routine. Just shoot me an email, DM or leave a comment below. I’ll respond ASAP.
P.S. You can shop directly from our official e-commerce site by adding to your cart from below and checking out from the drawer. We only ship to the U.S. currently, but we’re working on expanding internationally soon!